The Plan Moving Forward

Street Talk The Plan Moving Forward

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Lamar Jackson ran onto the field to a huge ovation.

Then, he ran over the Cincinnati Bengals.

The rookie set a franchise record with 117 yards rushing as a quarterback. Jackson also completed 13 of 19 passes for 150 yards with an interception (70.1 passer rating).

The 24-21 victory over the Bengals moved Baltimore (5-5) into the sixth and final playoff spot.

While the team and fans will take a few to enjoy the victory, questions have already surfaced about whether Jackson’s initial performance is sustainable for long-term success.

Jackson ran the ball 27 times, the most by any quarterback since 1960.

Coach John Harbaugh doesn’t expect Jackson to carry that ball so many times moving forward.

“I think that’s what Lamar felt that it took,” he said. “I don’t believe it’s going to take that many carries every week. It’s not what we’re going to be shooting for, by any stretch. But, if it takes that many, Lamar will do it. But, no, he took some hits. I think they knew the quarterback was going to run the ball.

“They were going after him a little bit, as you would expect. That’s something that we have to look at going forward. It’s not going to be the goal to average [27] carries a game, that’s for sure.”

Joe Flacco missed the game with an ailing hip. Harbaugh confirmed that the veteran quarterback will likely be out again next week against the Oakland Raiders, who beat the Arizona Cardinals in Week 11.

“Yes, it will be tough for him this week coming,” Harbaugh said when asked about Flacco’s status.

As a result, Jackson will make his second straight start. The game will inevitably slow further down for him and he will be more comfortable stepping back in the pocket and throwing the ball downfield.

[Related: The Good, Bad, & Ugly from 24-21 Win]

“I’m comfortable … Very comfortable with the pass game,” he said.

In addition, the Ravens finally committed to the running game and finished with 265 yards. Rookie Gus Edwards showed he can be an effective downhill runner and had 115 yards on 17 carries with his first career touchdown. 

“Gus was north and south,” Harbaugh said. “He’s a physical guy. He has been practicing really well. When those young guys start practicing well for weeks after weeks, you want to get them out there. Then he was playing well on special teams, so it gave an indication that he was ready. He sure took the bull by the horns.”

So, the “pitchforks” will be put away for the next week. The Ravens, however, need to have another effective performance against the Raiders. It’s still an uphill battle to end the three-year playoff drought with road games against the Chiefs and Chargers still ahead.

“Going into this week, we knew that this is a huge game, being that it was a division game,” said cornerback Marlon Humphrey, who had a key pass break up to help preserve the win. “If we were going to keep those playoff hopes alive, we have to go just one game at a time, one play at a time and get victories.”

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Todd Karpovich

About Todd Karpovich

Todd Karpovich has been a contributor for ESPN, the Associated Press, SportsXchange, the Baltimore Sun, among other media outlets nationwide. He is the co-author of “If These Walls Could Talk: Stories from the Baltimore Ravens Sideline, Locker Room, and Press Box,” “Skipper Supreme: Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles,” and the author of “Manchester United (Europe's Best Soccer Clubs).” Karpovich lives in Towson with his wife, Jill, daughters, Wyeth and Marta, and a pair of dogs, Sarah and Rory. More from Todd Karpovich

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